Author: vebarger

Want to Be a Better Writer? Watch more movies, read more books!

Want to Be a Better Writer? Watch more movies, read more books!

What? I’m telling you to go do something other than write? Well… yes.

The obvious response to how to be a writer is write. And I want to take a moment to remind you that being it doesn’t matter if you are published or not – if you write, and you love to write, you are a writer.

But, getting back to being a better writer – while writing is the biggest and most important thing you can do, I also believe that there is another important thing that people forget. I know I do sometimes.

You have to READ.

Now, most writers I know are also readers at heart. But sometimes you get to where you haven’t read anything in weeks or months. Work, family, writing, and all those other commitments take your time and you just keep that running to read list going, but you never cross anything off. (And I’m guilty. I carry a to read notebook in my purse. I’m WAY past the “list” stage.) The thing you have to remember is that reading is just as important as writing. Its both a way to help your brain take a break, breathe in some new motivation and creativity, and do some “business research.”

You have to expose yourself to other ideas and help stretch your imagination. If you’re very intent on what you’re writing currently, then by all means, finish and then do it. But make sure you do. I once had a critique partner who called it “refilling the word count.” She was right. After I finished LEARNING SPACE, I had a bit of a writing slump. I started a Nano project, but I couldn’t finish. My heart wasn’t in it. I hadn’t taken time to really think it through, and let myself recover from the other book. In doing this, you also need to make sure you are staying aware of what is out there in your genre. You need to be aware of other authors and books. Honestly, making connections with other writers is one of the best perks of the job! Tell them you love their book – you know how great it makes you feel, so make sure you do the same!

At the same time, try a few books outside of your genre. If you write YA novels, try something adult. If you write all horror, try a romance or a realistic fiction. I’m not a huge fan of realistic fiction (I get enough YA drama from the high school students at work), but I’ve tried a few and been pleasantly surprised! (If you haven’t read TEN MILES PAST NORMAL or THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE, I highly recommend them!)

Never underestimate the power of the written word. Reading something I didn’t write and having my imagination stimulated by someone else’s words helped to jump start my own.

In addition to reading, I always love a good movie. I always see my books in a visual way – they play a bit like movies in my head. So watching movies really helps me. They transport you, they’re visual, and they’re fun. It doesn’t matter so much if its a “good” or “bad” movie. Some of the ones I watch over and over aren’t exactly high class entertainment. And some of them are. Some are in black and white. (Arsenic and Old Lace? Angel and the Badman?) And if there is a B or C SyFy movie – before we got rid of our cable, I’d have been watching it. They’re so bad sometimes, they’re funny. Except Sharknado. That one makes me feel like I’m leaking brain cells. For serious.

My favorite right now is probably Beauty and the Beast or the live action Cinderella. I love the costuming in those and the visuals. They’re just so pretty to look at!

What movies do you love? What book recommendations do you have for me?

To Read Tuesday – Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

To Read Tuesday – Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Yes please!

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

New website is coming!

New website is coming!

Pardon my dust! There is a new and updated website coming, on a new hosting service. After being silent for so many months, things are finally beginning to get back to some sort of normal. We’ve had a hard year – I’ve had two miscarriages, and there have been so many other things happen that it was just hard to be motivated to get much of anything done, let alone be creative and write. But slowly, things are looking up. I’ve started doing more art (mostly junk journals) and I’ve got some great ideas for a story – a good one – that I want to finish by June.

Another thing that I’m motivated to accomplish is to revamp this blog. For so long I didn’t have  a direction for what I was doing here. But now I’ve decided on a path – writing is a passion of mine, even when I have setbacks like I have recently. I love helping other people see the joy in writing and putting words on paper. So many of my posts from here on out are going to be (or attempt to be) writing tips, techniques, and idea generators. I love writing prompts, so I’ll be continuing those – starting with my #AprilCreativity posts. (These are going to be an annual event, I think). I’m even tossing around the idea of creating and running a writing competition of some kind, though right now that is just an idea.

For now, I’m going to start with getting the blog in order. I’m switching from one host to another, and there may be some growing pains as I try to get things in order. Please, don’t let that deter you! Things may be a bit wonky as I get the new site up and running, but I firmly believe it will be worth it!

Back in the Saddle

Back in the Saddle

I apologize to all of my readers for being absent for so long. There have been some pretty hard things going on in our house, and its been a rough year. After two miscarriages in under 9 months, I have had a hard time focusing on anything, let alone writing a word. But slowly, things are looking up!

I’ve got a story brewing – a good one –  and I’m hoping to get it finished by the time school is out in June. I’m also back to making art as well – junk journals and mixed media – and it helps get those creative juices flowing!

To Read Tuesdays will be returning next week, and I’m debating the writing prompts weekly as well. Would you be interested?

What other things would you like to see on this blog? I want to write something that you want to read – so please let me know! I also may be moving the blog to new hosting and revamping the website, so don’t be surprised if things look different soon!